San Francisco City Administrator Naomi Kelly has submitted her resignation to Mayor London Breed and will step down from her post on Feb. 1. Her resignation comes as her husband faces allegations of public corruption by federal prosecutors in an ongoing City Hall scandal.

She announced last month she would take a six-week leave of absence to spend time with her family and husband, Harlan Kelly, the former general manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission,  who was charged by prosecutors for accepting bribes from permit expeditor Waltor Wong.

Ching Wong/SFBay San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly speaks during a ceremony on the completion of a streetscape improvement project on Masonic Avenue in Francisco, Calif., on Tuesday, August 14, 2018.

The complaint alleges Wong paid for or subsidized trips, meals and personal care services to Harlan Kelly. One allegation asserts includes Wong financed a family trip to Hong Kong and China, including airfare, meals, hotel expenses and jewelry purchases.

Wong was also charged by prosecutors and pleaded guilty to “conspiracies to commit honest services fraud and money laundering” and is now providing information to prosecutors.

The city administrator, who has not been charged with a crime, said in her resignation letter on Tuesday:

“In light of recent public allegations, based on the false statements of an admitted liar. I must step aside to focus on my family and to allow City Administrator’s Office to function without distraction.”

Ching Wong/SFBay City Administrator Naomi Kelly speaks during the ceremony for the completion of the Moscone expansion project in San Francisco, Calif., on Thursday, January 3, 2019.

She added that she was saddened to hand in her resignation during the Covid-19 pandemic, but said:

“However, I know, that this is the right decision for San Francisco, for my family, and especially for my two children who have been devastated by these allegations.”

Naomi Kelly has worked for The City for over 20 years and was appointed by former Mayor Ed Lee in 2012 as city administrator, a role that Lee held before becoming mayor.

She is the top nonelected official in The City overseeing 25 city departments, an estimated staff of 2,700 and annual budget of $750 million.

Under her supervision was the Department of Public Works, which was headed by former Director Mohammed Nuru, who faces alleged public corruption charges announced by prosecutors last January.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. He has produced stories for the San Francisco Public Press and Ingleside Light. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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